Posted on | May 21, 2013 | 4 Comments
It feels as though the world is working hard to break our hearts every day. New stories of sickness, of hunger, and of death. Most recently, we’ve watched in horror with tears in our eyes as volunteers and first responders scour through the rubble of an elementary school searching for children who were trapped inside during the tornadoes that plowed through Oklahoma.
I laid in bed last night, thinking of the mamas and daddies who have had their little ones ripped unexpectedly from this earth. I’ve thought of the pain they must feel. The numbness or maybe the overwhelming emotion that can’t be controlled. I’ve thought of them waking this morning, if they slept at all, to rooms with empty beds and piles of dirty laundry that once belonged to their babies. And sometimes, I feel like I can’t breathe. I prayed throughout the night. Prayers of healing and peace and even miracles. I begged God to help pull them through this and to wrap his arms around the little ones who were brought home yesterday. And selfishly, I prayed for myself and my family. I prayed for our own safety and health. I prayed to be lifted out of the fog of fear that seems to trap me during these kinds of tragedies. I prayed a rush of thanks for being able to wrap my arms and warm towels around slippery little boys after their evening bath.
I have no words to explain a tragedy like this. I think we all process the devastation in our own ways. Turning off the TV or being glued to the news. Being practical and looking for ways to help, or falling into a feeling of absolutely helplessness. Thrusting angry fists towards the Heavens and screaming, “Why?”. Whispered prayers for understanding and peace. In a world where our lives can be turned upside-down in an instant and those we love most taken from us in the blink of an eye, it can be easy be terrified. It’s easy to want to lock our babies in our homes, draw the curtains, and protect them from the dangers that lurk outside. But the truth is, that’s no way to live. And no matter how much we try, we can only protect our children so much.
As I dropped Sully off at school this morning, I had a moment of panic as I pulled away. How could I let him leave my sight when so many parents will never see their children again? But it’s not fair to me to shuffle through life that way, and it doesn’t do my children justice to have a mama who cowers in the face of tragedy. Instead, I will remind myself to enjoy every minute. I will kiss my children harder. Hug my husband longer. Let the dishes sit overnight in favor of one more story and maybe a late-night movie. I’ll take that extra minute at the gym to cool down and breathe deeply. I’ll linger a little longer in warm shower and hesitate before dropping a good book for a chore. Because all the cliches are true: life is short. Not a minute is promised.
It’s a constant battle for me…remembering to live in this moment and not fear the next. But it’s a battle I’m not willing to give in to, and it’s one I will continue to work towards overcoming until it is no longer a struggle. For now, I will pray for all those affected by the tornadoes. I’ll drop off on envelope every month to St. Jude. I’ll donate food and clothing to local charities, and I’ll lend a helping hand whenever I am able. And then I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to be grateful for what we have and to live in this moment. Right this minute.
Posted on | May 20, 2013 | 1 Comment
I really, really love hashbrown casserole. When I was younger and we would go eat at Cracker Barrel, I would order two helpings of it as my “veggie” sides. I’ve since learned to curb the craving a bit because hashbrown casserole is undoubtedly bad for the thighs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the rich, wonderful flavor of cheesy potato goodness. I stumbled across this recipe last night for a Spaghetti Squash al Gratin. It looked so yummy, but there were a few things I wanted to change, so I threw together my version of it. And y’all? If Taylor wasn’t already married to me, I think he would have proposed last night. It was amazing. Taylor knows I always try to make things healthier than the original version, so he asked, “What is in these?! They taste like they are full of cream and butter, and I don’t even care.”
It was super easy and simple. Here’s what you need to make them:
1 large spaghetti squash or two small ones
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 cup of reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of reduced fat cheddar cheese for topping
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 of small white or yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
Splash of EVOO
1/4 teaspoon of cayene pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of milk (I used 2%, but whole milk would make it a bit richer)
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Remove seeds. Place meaty side down in a roasting pan with a little water (about 1/4 an inch). Roast until skin is easily penetrated with fork. Mine took about 25 minutes.
3) While roasting, dice up the onion. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Mix with the garlic.
4) Heat butter and EVOO together in a saute pan, and toss in the garlic and onion mixture. Saute until nicely browned and caramelized. Do not saute over high heat or else you’ll burn your garlic.
5) When spaghetti squash is ready, use a fork to pull the squash out of the skin, and place it in a baking dish. Mix with onions and garlic, one cup of cheese, the Greek yogurt, and your splash of milk.
6) Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
7) Toss it back in the oven until cheese is browned. Mine took about 15 minutes.
ENJOY! I’m sure you could customize this to suit your family’s taste. Heavy cream and extra butter would make it delicious and special for a holiday meal. You could play with different types of cheeses or spices. I bet it would be super yummy with a nuttier cheese. Let me know if you change it around and how it goes!
Posted on | May 15, 2013 | 7 Comments
I can’t tell you the countless hours I spent worrying about being thin growing up. I remember my first brush with the “must be thin” bug. I was sitting on a bus with my legs thrown over the edge of the seat and my calves were pressed against the side. A boy, one who I thought was incredibly cute, asked me why my legs were so big.
Y’all, I couldn’t have weighed more than 98lbs.
I was devastated. All around me, girls still hadn’t filled out and were clocking in around 80-95lbs. I was the “big” girl. Taller than everyone (shocking, considering I’m barely breaking 5’0″ now), and muscular from years of horseback riding and tennis. I wasn’t long and lithe. I was stocky. Strong. And apparently, my calves were “huge” according to middle school boy standards. Which, let’s be honest, mean jack and shit. And still, I began to worry about my size. I stopped grabbing fries during lunch and would stick to fruit. I dropped the nightly ice cream. I started drinking Diet Cokes instead of regular Coke.
My habits carried over into high school where one was defined by her pants size. I clearly remember girls standing around, comparing the sizes on their Seven Jeans. How shallow were we? And anytime I inched over a size 2, I immediately counted calories and watched every bite. I never worked out besides my riding or when I was forced to by the tennis coach. Muscles didn’t matter. Thin thighs that didn’t touch when I put my feet together mattered. One of my girlfriends grew sickly skinny over a summer. When I saw her, she had dropped from a healthy weight to one that screamed, ANOREXIA! Instead of being concerned, I asked her how she did it. When she told me she ate 1000 calories or less a day, I thought it was totally normal and doable.
Not saying I ever flirted with an eating disorder. I never grew scary skinny. I never starved myself. I never purged. But I did find myself obsessed over the fact that I wasn’t the thinnest by any stretch of the imagination. When I saw this picture of me on Field Day my senior year, I was heartbroken. Notice all the thin legs compared to my muscular thighs. I remember thinking I looked like a Clydesdale. I weighed 115lbs.
In college, life began to change. After gaining and losing the freshman fifteen, I began working out regularly. I was surrounded by strong, beautiful women who worked out and who were all shapes and sizes. No longer did everyone suffer to be inexcusably tiny and starved. Instead, people acted normally. I’m sure some of them struggled with inner demons, but eating disorders were no longer the norm. I took a weight lifting class. I took pilates. I started feeling healthier. And yet, there was still that piece of me that just wanted to be skinny. Skinny in the way that people looked at me and said, “Wow, she got thin…” and that wasn’t healthy.
It wasn’t healthy because that’s not my body type.
I will never have a long, willow-y “yoga” body. I will never have wispy arms and skinny legs. Never. Even at my tiniest, least fit moment, I wasn’t “skinny.” I shouldn’t have felt the urgent need to strive to be skinny. I shouldn’t have been made to feel, and allowed myself to believe, that skinny was the utmost ideal to reach.
At the same time, I hate the new memes that state anti-skinny things:
As if skinny and strong aren’t things that can happen together. As if skinny girls should be put down and told they aren’t strong because of their body-type. I happen to know several thin girls who could out-lift most guys. Skinny doesn’t mean weak. Some women are naturally thin, and that doesn’t mean they can’t be beasts in the gym. Believe me. I’ve seen the ridiculous strong skinny girls. And they are amazing, too.
I guess my point is, why can’t we just embrace women’s bodies? Why can’t we encourage strength and health rather than a particular mold in which we should all fit? Why do we teach our sons and daughters to believe that skinny is the only kind of beautiful as we force ourselves through countless diets, endless fights with the scale, and crying fits when our jeans aren’t the size we believe we should be? Why do we scorn naturally thin women, insistingly that they must be unhealthy to have that body-type? Why do we put down larger women, insisting they have a problem?
As I’ve changed my work out from endless cardio to focusing on building strength, I’ve gained an entirely new perspective. I look forward to the gym. I no longer google images of models and actresses for inspiration, but I look to women who are athletic and strong. My goals have changed from “Reach x number on the scale,” to “Lift this here 150lbs over my head,” and that’s something that I can appreciate. I no longer critique the size of my thighs in the mirror, and I’ve begun to admire muscle definition and strength gains. I hope this new attitude will reach beyond me and to my boys. I hope I will teach them to appreciate strength as beauty in women, regardless of body shape. I hope they will see health, a willingness to push physical boundaries, and a healthy body image when they look at me. I hope they will feel the same about themselves instead of worrying about a magazine worthy pair of abs.
I wish I could get back all those hours I spent comparing myself to others, worrying about being thin, and judging myself in the mirror. What wasted time. What a horrible way to spend your teenage years (and let’s be honest, most of my twenties). But I can’t. And I’ll do everything in my power to never revert back to that insecure girl I once was as I try to stay on the path of a confident, strong woman.
Posted on | May 14, 2013 | 1 Comment
Last weekend, Taylor and I drove all the way to South Carolina to drop the babies off with my parents and then all the way back to Morehead City, NC, to witness the wedding of some very dear friends. Jackie and I met last year, and we hit it off immediately. You know those people who just “fit you”? Your personalities just settle right into a happy, easy friendship, and they are just a joy to be around? Well, that’s Jackie for me. She became a best friend almost immediately, and I was so honored when she asked me to be in her wedding and stand next to her as a bridesmaid.
The weekend was one wild whirlwind of tears and laughter and drinks and vows. It was beautiful and and crazy and perfect.
We got there on Thursday night and relaxed at a big beach house that all the wedding party had gotten together. It was so nice to have a big house to spread out and enjoy. We each had our own rooms and bathroom. The next night was the rehearsal, which everyone knows is a perfect excuse to party with the bride and groom. You can always tell a successful rehearsal dinner when the wedding party ends up in the back of a pick-up truck…
The wedding day was a blur, but the bride stayed so calm and collected the whole day. Impressive. And man, did they make a beautiful pair. I sobbed as she walked down the aisle and cheered when they kissed. I tried to seek out Taylor during the vows. They always remind me of our own.
By the time pictures were over, the guys were several beers deep, and the girls were all ready to kick off our heels and party. The reception was at a little outdoor pier-side bar, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. A cool sea breeze blew through the open bar, and we could dance and eat to the smell of salt water.
Tay and I got up early the next morning and hit the road. We ended up traveling for about twelve hours with a nice little break at my parent’s house for a Mother’s Day get together. As much fun as the wedding was, we couldn’t wait to get back to our boys. It sure is good to have a weekend away, but it’s even better to hold them again after a few days apart.
I hope all of you had a beautiful Mother’s Day. I’m still recovering from this weekend. I got a cold on the way home, and I kind of feel like I have a permanent hangover. But nonetheless, it was all so worth it. And nothing is a better reminder of loving your own spouse like witnessing the beginning of a marriage.
Posted on | May 8, 2013 | 6 Comments
Whoops. Looks like Boss Man stepped in it again, huh? I don’t envy you right now as you work to fix the mess he made. It’s not easy to clean up, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong.”
One can only assume that ‘ol Jeffries spent his entire youth wearing whatever clothes he desperately hoped would make him fit in with the “cool” crowd. That must have been hard. Maybe we should feel sorry for him? Or not.
See, here’s the thing: Every company markets to a demographic. It’s no secret that high-end companies like Kate Spade and Couch aren’t exactly making themselves available to the less-than-wealthy. Flip through a J.Crew magazine, and you’ll see a host of thin, white females and sporty, white men. M.A.C makes no bones about their make-up being geared towards the club scene. All companies look to reach out to a particular market because it’s an effective strategy. They work to make people feel there is something special about them when they get to wear or use that particular brand. They want to make them feel beautiful, strong, confident, sexy…whatever. Whatever it is that the company feels will pull their targeted demographic in through their doors and leave clutching a shiny new bag of treasures.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to work to appeal to one specific type of person because they are the reason behind your brand. Every company has the right to sell and market however they so choose.
But it’s not okay to be a dick about it.
For example, there is one particular Angel-themed lingerie company that makes bras only up to a 36DD. They no longer make nursing bras. Their clothes are generally sized pretty small. Their catalog is full of wispy models with huge boobs. I happened to have worked for this company for awhile, and their marketing was amazing. Everyone was welcomed as they walked in the door. No matter the size, shape, or type of clothing they were wearing, they were given the full shopping experience. Even if an employee knew that she would be unable to properly fit a woman in one of the bras the company carried, she would still give her a complimentary fitting and help explain what to look for in a bra. Were they exclusionary? Absolutely. I can’t tell you the number of women I sized and then had to explain that they would need to find their bras elsewhere because their size wasn’t available in our store. But here’s the difference; we never made them feel less than. We never told them that they were of less value because their chest size didn’t fit the self-proclaimed ideal of the store. We never told them they weren’t beautiful enough to wear our clothing. That they weren’t thin enough or young enough. Because it wasn’t true. Yes, the clothing was geared to a specific demographic, but that didn’t make anyone who didn’t fit that certain prototype less important.
So, you’ve failed.
This isn’t the first time, of course. You’ve been under scrutiny for your hiring practices and overly-sexual ads featuring teenagers. But never before have you experienced the wrath of social media. With Facebook, Twitter, bloggers, and a whole host of news websites who are carrying your boss’ ridiculous words, this may be a hard fall to overcome. Not only have you turned away everyone who doesn’t fit your “ideal,” but you’ve also turned away a great deal of people who do.
Sure, there will be some who don’t care. Maybe even some who feel special because they are the kind of people you want. And that’s fine. People are forgiving, and I’m sure this will begin to blow over in a few weeks when the next viral cat video or high-speed car chase inflames the interwebs, but I hope you won’t forget how it feels to be excluded from shopper’s trips.
I hope you won’t forget how it feels to be “uncool.” To be seen as ugly and cruel and a big, FAT bully.
I hope you won’t forget how you made thousands of people feel unwanted and less than. How you made them feel they weren’t worthy of wearing your hole-y jeans and too-short shirts.
I hope you’ll remember this, tell your boss to keep his mouth shut, and figure out a way to be less of a douche.
Because right now? Your company kind of sucks.
Smooches and middle fingers,
Posted on | May 7, 2013 | 4 Comments
I’ve always disdained “trendy” work outs and diets. I found them incredibly hard to stick with and actually get results. Jillian Michaels? Kiss my ass. Insanity or P90X? Effective, but monotonous and nothing I enjoyed. Couch25K? Fine. And you can definitely run a 5K when it’s over, but then you’re only other option is just increasing mileage. And while I don’t mind running, I’m more of a 5k-10k kinda girl. The only work out I’ve ever really enjoyed was Pilates, but I didn’t see any significant changes from doing it consistently (I know, everyone is different). I found myself in a continuous cycle of calorie cutting and endless cardio, and I just started to dread the gym.
And then last week, I read an article that mentioned metabolism destruction, and my ears perked immediately. Since having children, I’ve noticed that losing weight is much, much harder than before, and I thought that would never happen to me. I’ve always eaten pretty well, and I’ve always exercised consistently. Why would losing weight be difficult?
Well, the article covered several things that can effectively slow your metabolism to the point where it clings to every calorie no matter what you do. Some of the worst culprits included:
1) Consistent calorie restriction and deficits.
2) Sustained cardio such as elliptical machines, stair steppers, and slow distance runs/walks with no weights.
3) Gaining and losing the same 5-20lbs.
I wish I could find the article…I’ve since lost it, but this gives you a good idea as to why you might feel like your metabolism has slowed. Um, hello? Aren’t we from a generation of women who are constantly dieting and running to try to lose weights? Haven’t we stuck to our little 8lb weights and basic exercises because we’ve always heard, “High Reps, Low Weights” to help tone up and stay slim? I know that’s been my consistent goal. I go into the gym, hop on the treadmill for thirty minutes, then either do legs, arms, abs, or chest/shoulders, and call it a day. I do a million reps with low weights and walk out feeling good. But I wasn’t seeing the changes I wanted. The article pointed out the importance of eating enough (and eating right) and building muscle to increase metabolism. It suggested several days of heavy lifting with a few “high intensity interval training” sessions like running sprints if you need to lean down.
So, last Monday, I looked up crossfit.com and decided to give it a go. I know so many people who do it and love it, so I thought it would be worth a shot. The work outs are short and intense, and they’re easy to track your progress. You do them for time or for increased weight, and you can repeat a work out several weeks or months later to see how you’ve improved. They are all considered “functional” exercises and would be things you might need in real life (like pull-ups). They also help improve your other sports, if you’re an athlete. After my first work out, I felt like I was dying, but I also felt really satisfied. This was the work out I did:
100 ft Walking lunge
25 Knees to elbows
5 Rope climb, 15 ft
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
25 Overhead squats, 65 pounds
Everything can be scaled to suit your abilities. I used a rubber band for the pull-ups and did weighted rope pulls instead of climbs. I did Crossfit Monday through Friday and took the weekend off. I started again yesterday, and today I’m doing this work out:
21-15-9 reps of:
Clean 135 pounds
I’m going to add in quarter mile sprints and a decent warm-up.
I know it seems crazy, but I already feel more confident. I’ve lost a couple pounds. I feel like I can see some of the changes already. This is the first work out program where I actually feel motivated and excited to hit the gym. A Crossfit gym isn’t in our budget right now, so I do the work outs on my own at our gym. Taylor has done Crossfit-type work outs for years, so he’s always there if I have a question, and there are countless videos and articles online to help you with form. I’m sure joining a Crossfit gym is ideal, and maybe we will someday, but for now, I’m fine with doing it on my own.
Has anyone else tried Crossfit? What did you think? Any results?
Posted on | May 6, 2013 | 10 Comments
We’re a little over a year into having owned this home and just shy of a year having lived here. Since we came from a life of furnished rental apartments and small homes and suddenly had 2,200 sq. ft. to fill, it’s taking us awhile to make it feel homey and comfortable. But, we’re getting there! We’ve set a small budget per month for money that can be put aside to buy things for the house or to make upgrades. It’s modest as we are still paying off things like appliances and flooring, but it’s enough that it gives us a little leeway to not feel stagnant. We hate to feel like we’re stalling on the process of building it into what we imagined when we first bought it, so we decided to be a bit more proactive.
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared what our house looks like, so I thought I’d give you a little rundown on some of the updates. One of my favorite rooms is our Formal Living room. I never realized how much I would enjoy having a place that is set aside for special occasions and holidays. Since moving in, we’ve painted this room, adding quarter round, and changed out old electrical outlets, and have begun to furnish it. We would still like to replace the light fixture, add curtains, and maybe put up crown moulding.
I used to hate the fireplace covering, but as we’ve added more gold and metal touches to the room, it’s kind of growing on me…
All our pieces are a mix of passed down treasures, thrifted goods, and some newish things we brought to the table when we moved here.
It’s a constant work in progress, but I’m loving the way it’s transforming.
I’m kind of stuck on the mantel right now. I don’t love what we have there, but I don’t have much else to fill it with right now. I’ll be looking for little knick knacks and pieces that speak to me to fill it soon. The picture over the mantel is too small, but it will do for now. We have other plans for artwork there. The horse picture will eventually move to another wall in the same room. We have lots of wall space to fill.
Here was our living room when we moved in.
The yellow doesn’t look so offensive in this picture, but it was pretty awful, for sure.
I love our dining room and my Pyrex collection. We eat in here just about every night, and this is where we eat when company comes to visit. We actually have a new (old) dining room table and chairs waiting to be picked up from a friend’s house. This one has worked fine, but it’s too small when we have more than four people eating.
I’d like to add curtains or maybe some short, vintage-y drapes on this window.
This was our dining room when we moved it (we replaced the old carpet before we moved in).
We basically live in the Bonus Room. It’s where the kids are anytime we aren’t outside playing or at the gym or their school. It’s big enough to give us room to spread out, and it keeps them contained when I’m busy with anything else. It’s connected to our kitchen, which is where I spend lots of my time, so I can keep an eye on them while they play. I love it.
It’s a huge room (used to be a two car garage!), so it’s going to take us awhile to fill it. I want to add a big ottoman, maybe with storage, a floor lamp, a couple different end tables, lots of wall art, a chalkboard for the boys, a bookshelf for their books, a larger TV, and curtains. It’ll take me a long time to get there, but it’s coming along piece by piece.
This was our bonus room a few months ago.
I like it MUCH better now.
Posted on | May 1, 2013 | 6 Comments
There’s a part of me that was so delusional about military life. I assumed that old friends would always understand when I had to miss an event or party or dinner date because of our distance and my husband’s busy schedule. I assumed they would know they it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with them, but that the expense of traveling, the issue of finding a sitter, or the aspect that I would often have to drive alone as Taylor would be in the field or unable to take time off were just too hard. And maybe, I made excuses instead of being the friend I should have been. Because being a friend can be a tough job, and I didn’t always devote my energy to the effort.
I thought people wouldn’t take things personally. That they would know I still loved them. That when I said I would be there in heart, I truly meant it. That my phone calls might be a little more infrequent but that they knew they were on my mind. I assumed people could read what I was thinking and feeling, but I was wrong.
Being married to a Soldier is a beautiful, wonderful thing. I am married to man who would give everything for his family, his country, and you. I dove head-first into this life, and I’ve never regretted a second of it, but I do sometimes regret how I’ve handled relationships with people who don’t understand. I take for granted that everyone will know what it means to be married to a man in the military. And, I sometimes forgot the road works both ways. Instead of picking up the phone and calling when I hadn’t heard from someone in awhile, or calling back if the first call went unanswered, I found myself frustrated and hurt. Instead of reaching out more, I gave up.
It happens slowly, you know, the changing of friendships. We’ve all be there. The high school friends. The college friends. The married friends. The friends with children. And slowly the ones of old fade into the past, and you look back with a start to realize you haven’t heard from someone you love in over a year. A missed dinner date here. A wedding you thought you would be included in comes and goes. Someone you love doesn’t ask you to be a bridesmaid. A baby is born with no announcement in your mail box. It’s so subtle you barely notice the passing of time and the exclusion.
Eventually, as a military spouse, you find that the vast majority of your friends are military friends, and you have only a handful of dear friends from your past. I’m so incredibly lucky that the few that have stuck with me are absolutely amazing. They “get” me. If it’s been awhile since we spoke, they don’t hold it against me. They are okay when I call them on a Thursday night out of the blue just because I miss them, and they are the most understanding people I know. They don’t hold missed events against me. They know I don’t hold it against them when they can’t drive five hours for my husband’s surprise birthday party or a baby’s baptism. We have a working relationship that is beautiful and comfortable. Many of them have known me since I was a child. The others are wonderful friends from college, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
And my military wife friends? They are pure gold. I can’t say anything else because there are no words to explain a woman who knows your life through and through, and who love you anyway.
I suppose there’s a reason only a precious few people make it into the “lifetime friend” category. And maybe that makes them all the more special and precious. But, it’s still painful to watch people you’ve once loved disappear into a shadow of your past. I recognize it’s impossible to be the best friend you can be to everyone who you love, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it.
Posted on | April 30, 2013 | 6 Comments
I heard these words as the sweat ran down my back in the Food Lion check out line.
I glanced up from under my beaten baseball cap to see the sweet smile of an older woman. She was dressed to kill in a beautifully tailored dress, big gold earrings, and five inch heels. Her soft gray hair was swept back in a neat bun, and she was carefully loading her bagged groceries back into her buggy.
“Oh, ha, thank you…sometimes I’m not sure!” I joked back nervously, feeling inadequate in my yoga pants and gym shirt. My little boys were grimy from the gym day care. Arlo was munching on some Goldfish crackers that I should have denied him because he screamed over them, but I gave in to avoid the fight. The backs of my ankles were red and raw from Sullivan ramming into me with his minature buggy that seemed like such a good idea, but wasn’t all that practical in the end.
“I mean it,” she said, reaching to place her hand over mine. “Little boys don’t look at their mama like that if she’s not doing a good job.” With a wink, she turned and walked to the door, and I choked back a surprised sob.
As mamas, we always feel like we’re failling. One child at a time. No matter how many good moments we have, in the dark of the night when babies are in bed, it’s the parts were we weren’t our best that haunt our thoughts. It’s not the squeals of delight on the swings and the time spent coloring, it’s the moment we raised our voice or said too harsh of words that stick with us.
But to be reminded that our children see the good, that they love us despite our downfalls and struggles. Despite our moments of frustrations and weakness. That they look at us like we’ve hung the moon. That their tiny attitudes aren’t reflections of poor parenting, but just a reminder that they are aging and growing into tiny people. To be forced to recognize that you are doing good, mama, and your little ones love you something fierce. These little reminders are so important, and we should remember to give them to ourselves. We deserve them, and our children deserve having parents who know they are good parents.
I know there will still be times when I see the worst in myself and stay awake bothered about my parenting choices. There will be times when those worries are legitimate. There will be fail moments, and I will have to hope and pray that they are never anything irreversible or big enough to hide my shining moments. But I will try to remind myself more often that I AM doing good, mama. I shouldn’t have to rely on the kindness of a stranger to remind me.
Posted on | April 24, 2013 | 11 Comments
Probably three times a week, someone asks me if we’re doing having babies. Apparently, the state of one’s uterus is public knowledge once you bring babies into this world. Or maybe always? Questions about my child-bearing plans have been thrown around since before I wasw officially married, so I guess once you get a ring put on it, everyone wants to know what’s next.
I usually say something like, “Yeah, umm. You know, we’re not sure. We’ll start talking about it sometime in the near future, but nothing’s set.” Because, really, am I going to tell the cashier at Harris Teeter that my husband and I have talked ad naseum about a third? Or that we are working on our finances and our future plans and surviving a three-year-old and almost-two-year-old and not killing our house plants and our dog on top of it all? Or that I sobbed while putting away newborn baby clothes when the thought of Arlo being my last seemed too hard to take? Or that I then felt incredibly selfish because I’d cried about the fact that I might not have a third when I already have two beautiful, wonderful boys in my arms?
Yeah. So, no. I usually try to keep it simple.
And the inevitable question that follows is always, “But you’ve got to try for a girl! Don’t you want a girl?”
I get it. I really do. I have two loud, crazy, stinky, bossy, and rough little boys. My life is filled with dirty and boogers, and instead of wanting me to paint nails and pick out clothes, they want me to watch while they leap from couches and kill spiders with their bare hands. They are wild. They are reckless. And they can be exahusting. They’re also the sweetest little guys you’ve ever met, and I never had someone love me so freely and so fully as these boys. As amazing as they are, that question always stings a little for me.
When I was pregnant each boy, I knew I wanted boys. Deep down, I knew that I was born to raise boys, and a private part of me longed very dearly for a house full of toe-headed boys. But that doesn’t mean I never imagined myself with a daughter. Another part of me longs for the relationship of being the mother to a little girl. Having grown up being very close to my mother, I mourn missing out on that with my own daughter. I have a hard time imagining never having a mini-me in a dress and oxfords. My heart feels a familiar tug when I imagine never seeing my sweet husband as a father to a little girl. I imagine little head bands and bows and pink toes. And I ache for it.
Then another part of me imagines having three little boys, and that would be pretty cool too. If we decide that we want to have a third, it will be with open acceptance of either a boy or a girl being brought into this world, and I will be excited by either. Until then, I suppose I’ll continue to avoid looking in strangers’ eyes as they ask me awkward questions about the future of my uterus.keep looking »